Simpatico is an experiment too far.
Chris Long 2004-04-06
Ever since Tim Burgess made his solo album, I Believe, his musical influences have become more evident in the Charlatans work. Sadly, the band's ninth outing has suffered as a result.
Simpatico may start in typical Charlatans fashion with the big strings and jarred guitars of "Blackened Blue Eyes" and the Shed Seven disco-esque "NYC (No Need To Stop)". But then suddenly, dub and reggae rhythms start to infiltrate the songs, with varying amounts of success. The low rumble of "For Your Entertainment" is breezy enough, but the frankly strange "City Of The Dead" could only get worse if Tim shouted something about Zion and Babylon at its finale!
When you've been around as long as the Charlatans, you have to keep trying new things or your sound can become tired. Simpatico, though, is an experiment too far. A new direction was needed, but that direction should not have been a musical journey round the Caribbean. It's time to set sail for home and go back to the drawing board.